For many Western observers – Tony Blair, Bill Clinton and Bill Gates among them – Rwanda’s economic growth is the foundation of its democratic transition. Yet, as Rwandans head to the polls next month to elect a president, Paul Kagame’s ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) has perverted the very democratic ideals it claims to uphold.
On June 24, 2010, U.S. agents in Manchester, New Hampshire, arrested Rwandan genocide survivor Beatrice Munyenyezi, a Hutu and a U.S. citizen since 2004, who is charged with genocide and with rape as a war and genocide crime. Meanwhile, a federal prosecutor for the case is known for misconduct, falsification of evidence and perjury. Is it a crime to have a Facebook profile? Is it a crime to use a computer?
Opposition presidential candidate Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza stood before a judge in Kigali, Rwanda, on April 22 after the Kagame government arrested and charged her with “associating with terrorists” and “genocide ideology,” a crime unique to Rwanda which includes “divisionism” and “revisionism,” meaning politics and/or attempting to revise the received history of the 1994 Rwanda Genocide.
Rwandan opposition presidential candidate Madame Victoire Ingabire Umuhoza, Rwanda’s first female presidential candidate, was released on bail one day after being jailed by the Kagame government of Rwanda. “Ingabire was arrested on trumped-up, political thought crimes," asserted law professor Peter Erlinder, one of Ingabire’s U.S. lawyers.
Congolese women are telling world leaders, "Listen to the Congolese for a change. We CAN bring an end to the geo-strategic resource war in the Congo.” Come hear Kambale Musavuli, the dynamic young Congolese leader who travels the U.S. breaking the silence about that war that has taken 6 million lives. He's speaking Sunday, April 18, 6:30 p.m., at the Black Dot Cafe, 1195 Pine St., West Oakland.
Today, 62 percent of the people packed into Rwanda’s prisons have been charged or convicted of genocide-related crimes and some of the country’s most admired leaders are being accused of the “genocide ideology” thought crime. Most prominent are Victoire Ingabire, Kagame’s strongest competitor for the presidency, and Paul Rusesabagina, the hero portrayed in the film “Hotel Rwanda,” who is charged with “Double Genocide Theory.”
If Rwanda's three viable opposition parties are allowed to register and participate in free and fair elections, they have a good chance, in coalition, of defeating Rwandan President Paul Kagame and his ruling Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) Party. Those three parties condemned the Feb. 19 deadly grenade attacks in Kigali, calling them “an attempt to instill fear in the population” prior to Rwanda’s August presidential election.